LIBERIA – Liberia’s rice value chain is set to benefit from a EUR 4 million (US$4.3m) support from the European Investment Bank, aimed to boost performance of the sector and enhance food security in the country by streamlining operations in the entire value chain from rice production, storage and distribution.

Under the agreement inked by Liberian government and EIB, detailed feasibility studies to identify current challenges and assess investment priorities in the rice value chain will be undertaken.

The feasibility studies are being financed by a grant from the European Development Fund under the Africa Investment Platform.

This will enable the partners to design and structure an investment program that is expected to be launched next year.

The overall investment program is expected to support the entire rice value chain, improving production, building irrigation, upgrading food laboratories, enhancing warehousing and logistics.

This will in turn reduce Liberia’s dependency on rice imports to improve food and nutrition security and create local jobs in rice production, storage and distribution.

It will further reduce the impact of the war in Ukraine and recent global economic shocks on Liberia.

“Rice is Liberia’s staple food, but we don’t produce it. The new rice investment program backed by the European Investment Bank and the European Union ensures that Liberia can accelerate sustainable development and avoid food price shocks by increasing local rice production.

“On behalf of all Liberians I wish to express my gratitude to the EIB and the European Union for working with Liberia to develop our country’s rice value chain and improving food security for Liberians,” said Tanneh G. Brunson, Deputy Minister for Budget Development at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.

Over the coming months, detailed feasibility studies will identify priority investment that can transform rice production in Liberia and enable large scale financing across the sector.

“The European Investment Bank is committed to scaling up investment to strengthen food security, improve domestic agricultural production and create jobs and reduce the impact of global food supply shocks on local consumers,” said Ambroise Fayolle, European Investment Bank Vice President.

The European Investment Bank is the world’s largest international public bank, owned directly by the 27 European Union member states and has been active in Liberia since 1978

Since the pandemic EIB has provided more than EUR 8 billion for private and public investment across Africa.

“The Russian attack on Ukraine is having consequences on food and commodity prices all over the world, including here in Liberia. The European Union recognise the importance of supporting local rice production to reduce Liberia’s dependency on rice imports and increase local rice production,” said Laurent Delahousse, European Union Ambassador to Liberia.

According to Observatory of Economic Complexity, Liberia imported rice worth US$138m in 2020 becoming the 52nd largest importer of the commodity in the world.

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